Cities worldwide are experiencing the failures of water privatisation. Unequal access, broken promises, environmental hazards and scandalous profit margins are prompting municipalities to take back control of this essential service. Water ‘remunicipalisation’ is a new, exciting trend that this book explores at length. Case studies analyse the transition from private to public water provision in Paris, Dar es Salaam, Buenos Aires and Hamilton, as well as look at a national level experiment in Malaysia. The journey toward better public water illustrates the benefits and challenges of municipal ownership, while at the same time underlining the stranglehold of international financial institutions and the legacies of corporate control.
The book situates these developments within larger debates about ‘alternatives to privatisation’ and draws lessons from these experiences for future action in favour of public services. It is a must-read for policy makers and activists looking for concrete ways to democratize water services.
The Water Justice project has compiled examples of how communities in different parts of the world are moving from failed privatised water management to successful publicly managed water and wastewater services. These examples are presented on this Water Remunicipalisation Tracker. Approaches differ depending on local circumstances but undoubtedly lessons can be learned from the different but inspiring experiences of remunicipalisation.
This tracker is intended as a work-in-progress to which everyone can contribute. Existing cases will be updated and new examples added, with the support of water campaigners, public water utility managers, trade unionists and others committed to successful remunicipalisation. The tracker is also an excellent opportunity to inspire others with the achievements and lessons from successful experiences, as well as to improve the visibility of activities and outcomes from campaigns currently advocating a return to public management of their water services.